201 Federal Street | Residential Tower | Portland

mainejeff

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I had hoped they would be a bit more progressive in their choices of finish materials. The brick color and pattern is reminiscent of a building that has been in place for 60 years and just blends into the background. I'm not sure the silver panels are going to save it.
I tend to agree with this. I wonder what the result would have been if the brick had been a grayish color? I really like the look of the 2nd picture below with black window trim and they could have kept the silver panels.
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mahonco

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Out of interest, I see that these are all rental units, so no private individual can buy them, I assume its some private equity investment? Like a 2 bed on the top floor with the best views and location in the entire city, could be a $2m property, what will that rent for?
 

Portlander

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Only because Redfern is all about providing "affordable" market rate units, I'm guessing the upper floor 2 bedroom units will be in the $2800-3200 a month range? The only apartment available in their Hiawatha building currently is a 4th floor studio for $1360 a month.
 
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TC_zoid

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I'd like to see an apartment tower like 201 in East Bayside, perhaps on or next to Anderson Street. Eventually, the pressure will mount for the Federated guy to sell or develop his lots in between West and East Bayside. When that happens, then all of Bayside becomes a more uniform area to live. And those two scrapyards... When is this going? What an eyesore. It can't be missed when walking from West Bayside to Whole Foods, of which will be a more normal thing to see when 52 Hanover is finished.
 

markhb

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One of the scrapyards already left and is now on Riverside St. The other, E. Perry, has refused all offers to relocate to the same neighborhood (and I think the land they were offered out there may now be the site of the homeless shelter). Looking at Google Maps, I can't tell if the owner of the parking lots across Kennebec from the scrapyard is letting them use some of their space or something. (I know we've also discussed that scrapyard elsewhere here.)
 

cneal

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I'd like to see an apartment tower like 201 in East Bayside, perhaps on or next to Anderson Street. Eventually, the pressure will mount for the Federated guy to sell or develop his lots in between West and East Bayside. When that happens, then all of Bayside becomes a more uniform area to live. And those two scrapyards... When is this going? What an eyesore. It can't be missed when walking from West Bayside to Whole Foods, of which will be a more normal thing to see when 52 Hanover is finished.
All the soils at the bottom of the hill in East and West Bayside are terribly ill-suited to high-rise construction – the "ground" is basically a big tub of oozing clay that goes 100+ feet deep, which is why every time a building goes up in the neighborhood there needs to be months' worth of pile-driving to support the foundations. This is a surmountable cost with a 4-5 story building, but gets much more expensive with a taller, heavier building.

Plus there are the issues with flooding on Somerset and Marginal, and rising sea levels... in short, there are dozens of empty/underutilized lots throughout the peninsula where the economics of a high-rise are more realistic, IMHO.
 

TC_zoid

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All the soils at the bottom of the hill in East and West Bayside are terribly ill-suited to high-rise construction – the "ground" is basically a big tub of oozing clay that goes 100+ feet deep, which is why every time a building goes up in the neighborhood there needs to be months' worth of pile-driving to support the foundations. This is a surmountable cost with a 4-5 story building, but gets much more expensive with a taller, heavier building.

Plus there are the issues with flooding on Somerset and Marginal, and rising sea levels... in short, there are dozens of empty/underutilized lots throughout the peninsula where the economics of a high-rise are more realistic, IMHO.
Intermed has a parking garage and is ten floors high. The original Federated proposal was for four 15 story buildings. The developer was going to put up relatively cheap towers, and so wouldn't they have investigated the circumstances with weak soils?
 

cneal

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Intermed has a parking garage and is ten floors high.
The Intermed project spent half a year driving deep piles on the site. If your tenant is a medical office with premium rents, yeah, it's financially feasible (or rather, it was back in 2007). But if you want to build apartments in 2022, it's going to be a lot harder to make those costs pencil out.

The original Federated proposal was for four 15 story buildings. The developer was going to put up relatively cheap towers, and so wouldn't they have investigated the circumstances with weak soils?
And ultimately, Federated couldn't build those 15-story buildings – after 2 years they pared their proposal down to 6-story wood-framed landscrapers (albeit with an even taller parking garage). This was framed as a "legal settlement" to satisfy Peter Monro's narcissistic lawsuit, but lots of other economic factors were in play. Blaming it on Monro let Federated and the city soothe the plaintiffs' bloated egos, it gave housing advocates an anti-housing straw man straight out of central casting – look at this twit from the West End who doesn't like apartment buildings! – which also gave the city a mandate to do ambitious zoning reforms to end-run around that kind of toxic NIMBYism, and it gave Federated an excuse to pivot to a smaller, more economically viable project with cheaper materials.

The 125' zoning is still in place for these lots, and people like Monro (if there's anyone out there who's shitty enough to want to emulate his behavior) no longer have any standing to challenge it in court, since it's been on the books for over a decade now. Nothing prevents Federated from selling the land to a new developer and letting them build something unencumbered by the 2014 settlement. Rents have gone up considerably higher, and on paper the land is much more valuable.

But bear in mind that, back in the 2000s and early 2010s, this area of Bayside (where Intermed was built, and where the Federated project was proposed) contained basically the only empty lots in the entire city where high-density mixed-use was legal under the city's zoning code. In 2012, there were just two 5+ unit multifamily buildings completed in the entire city, and both were low-income infill housing: Elm Terrace on High St. and Oak St. Lofts in the Arts District, for a combined 75 units. So Federated's 600-apartment proposal was based, in part, on the fact that they were poised to be the only show in town for a lot of market-rate renters or condo buyers.

In the years since then, though, City Hall has liberalized the zoning code to allow taller buildings with less (or no) parking in many, many more parts of the city – which made these Bayside parcels less unique, and thus less valuable. This year alone, between 201 Federal, Hanover St., Avesta's Valley St. project, PHA's Front St. project, CHOM's Middle Street project, the small project on Danforth St., and several others, we've got about 600 multifamily units under construction in the city – as many as Federated had proposed building over the course of several years in their original proposal.
 

TC_zoid

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Yes, I do remember much of the Monro fiasco. Am going to Boston's Seaport district Sunday to hang with friends in the new "Snowport" outdoor mall. Will take some pics with a notable arch friend of mine at the nearly finished St. Regis residences. Basically, this uniquely designed building went a little pile driving crazy by reaching out into the harbor. Sure, it's built within a key pricey area in Boston, but you watch what happens with Portland's Bayside supply and demand scenario. In a few more years, some or most of the real estate pricing will nearly double, and costs associated with digging down deeper for foundational support not a concern. The old bar on this site, The Whiskey Priest, always kind of looked like it was ready to fall into the harbor. Not this building.
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markhb

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No pics (I was driving), but I noticed coming home last night that the building (thanks to the lights and the crane) really stands out when coming down I-295 from Falmouth. I'm anxious to see how it looks once completed.
 

Portlander

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The building on the lower left appears to need a little work and what's the contraption on top of the building on the right? The new tower looks impressive on the skyline and thanks for the photos Conrad. (y)
 

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